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That’s a very serious offense that happened where Republicans on the Hill, we voluntarily provided these e-mails to, took one of them, doctored it and gave it to ABC News in an attempt to smear the president.”

— White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” May 19, 2013

“I think one of the problems that there’s so much controversy here is because one of the e-mails was doctored by a Republican source and given to the media to falsely smear the president.” 

— Pfeiffer, on Fox News Sunday, May 19     

“They received these e-mails months ago, didn’t say a word about it, didn’t complain … And then last week a Republican source provided to Jon Karl of ABC News a doctored version of a White House e-mail that started this entire fear. After 25,000 pieces of paper are provided to Congress they have to doctor e-mail to make political hay, you know they’re getting desperate here.”

— Pfeiffer, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” May 19

When a White House aide uses the same word — “doctored” — on three television shows, you know it is a carefully crafted talking point. On top of that, he says that this was done to “smear the president.”

These are strong words concerning the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. But is this a case of the White House communications chief taking liberties with the facts?

The Facts

Under pressure, the White House in March provided the e-mails to Capitol Hill Republicans surrounding the development of its talking points on the Benghazi attack when John Brennan was nominated to be CIA director. The talking points became an issue because they were used by U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice on the Sunday public affairs shows the week after the attack. Republicans, however, were not permitted to have copies of e-mails, but could only take notes on them.

The broad outlines of the mail exchanges were first disclosed in an April 23 report by House Republicans. The report quoted from and summarized various e-mails, but without the names of the senders attached. Far from Pfeiffer’s claim that Republicans “didn’t complain,” the report was highly critical.

Read More:  http://www.washingtonpost.com